Pontiff Call Volunteers Peace Workers

Addresses Youth of Italy’s Civil Service

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI called the youth volunteers of Italy’s civil service «workers of peace» and congratulated them on their enthusiasm and generosity.

The Pope received the youth in audience Saturday, offering the volunteers a reflection on the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution “Gaudium et Spes.”

«Peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly,” he said, quoting the constitution. “How real this observation is! Unfortunately, wars and violence never end, and the search for peace is always a toilsome business.”

Quoting the council fathers, the Pontiff explained: “New approaches based on reformed attitudes must be taken to remove this trap and to emancipate the world from its crushing anxiety through the restoration of genuine peace.”

According to Benedict XVI, “the authentic conversion of hearts represents the right way, the only way that can lead each one of us and all humanity to the peace that we hope for.”

“It is the way indicated by Jesus: He — the King of the universe — did not come to bring peace to the world with an army, but through refusing violence,” he added.

This way, the Pope said, is the one “followed not only by the disciples of Christ, but by many men and women of good will, courageous witnesses of non-violence.”

Recalling that “Gaudium et Spes” said that “we cannot fail to praise those who renounce the use of violence in the vindication of their rights and who resort to methods of defense which are otherwise available to weaker parties too, provided this can be done without injury to the rights and duties of others or of the community itself,” the Pontiff affirmed that the young people of the Italian Civil Service belong to the ranks of such “workers of peace.”

Always, everywhere

“So you must be instruments of peace always and everywhere, decisively rejecting egoism and injustice, indifference and hatred, to build up and spread — with patience and perseverance — justice, equality, freedom, reconciliation, welcome, forgiveness in every community,” he said.

“In the various spheres of your activity, each of you, through this experience of volunteer work, can reinforce your social sensibility, knowing people’s problems up close and making yourselves active promoters of a concrete solidarity,” the Holy Father observed, recognizing that “the principal objective of national civil service” is “formative: teaching the young generations to cultivate a sense of responsible attention to needy persons and the common good.”

“Life is a mystery of love, that the more we receive the more we give,” Benedict XVI said. “Indeed, the more we give ourselves, that is, make a gift of ourselves, of our time, of our resources and qualities for the good of others.

“May this always be the logic of your life; not only now when you are young, but tomorrow too, when you will take on — I hope this will be so — significant roles in society and have families. Be persons ready to respond to others, disposed even to suffer for the good and justice.»

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